In quite a significant change for employers and employees, on the 27th October 2022, the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 was passed in Parliament. This historic decision will amend the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide paid Family and Domestic Leave entitlements for all employees, including casual staff.

 

Background

The Fair Work Act 2009 outlines eleven National Employment Standards (‘NES’) which apply to all employees. These form the minimum standards which all employers are required to offer, including entitlements such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave and right to flexible work arrangements. Back in 2018, the Government formally recognised the importance of supporting individuals experiencing domestic violence and introduced into the NES an entitlement to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year.

In 2021, the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) commenced their review into Family & Domestic Violence Leave for award covered employees. As part of this review, a provisional decision was released to vary the current entitlement to provide for 10 paid days of Family and Domestic Violence into all modern awards. You can read further into this provisional decision in our previous article. However, the FWC decision would only be able to alter the entitlement specifically for modern award covered employees, as the FWC does not have power to amend entitlements for award-free employees. As such, this decision was deferred to allow the Government to comment on whether there was any intention to amend the NES entitlements.

This subsequently prompted the new ALP Government to commence a review into what was being offered under NES, resulting in the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 (‘The Bill’) being introduced into Parliament. This Bill sought to make a significant alteration to the current Family & Domestic Violence Leave entitlement, by not only increasing the amount of leave days per year, but most significantly, ensuring the leave entitlement would be paid for all employees.

 

What will change?

The Bill will make important amendments to the existing entitlement, including:

  • Increasing the leave entitlement to 10 paid days per annum, for all employees (including casual staff).
  • The full ten days leave is available from the commencement of employment, but unused leave does not carry over from year to year.
  • Extending the definition of “Family and Domestic Violence” to also include conduct by a current or former intimate partner of an employee, or a member of an employee’s household.
  • Also extending the entitlement to non-national system employees once the International Labour Organization Convention on Violence and Harassment (No. 190) comes into force for Australia.

 

When will the change come into effect?

The date the changes come into effect depends on the size of the business.

For employers with 15 or more employees, the amendment come into effect from 1 February 2023. This will be delayed for small business employers (less than 15 employees), with the change commencing from 1 August 2023 for them.

 

What will employers need to do before the change?

Employers will need to update leave policies to refer to the new entitlement.

We will be shortly sending out an updated template leave policy to all HR Connect customers free of charge, as part of their subscription.

Please contact us if you require any assistance in this area.

 

 

About HR Connect

HR Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of HR and workplace safety advice service, designed to help small business owners make confident and compliant business decisions.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice.

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